Legal brothels? Here? In BC? Well, Jody Patersen, Victoria Times-Colonist columnist thinks so (Comox Valley Echo Extra 1/29/10). And along with documentary filmmaker April Butler-Parry , she is urging citizens to consider the message of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution. And they certainly have their supporters in Vancouver including the Civil Liberties Association. Patersen points out that escort agencies do sex work under a different name so why not just be up front about prostitution? After all, prostitution only affects consenting adults.
I submit, as mother and grandmother of young women, that all women, young and old, and even girls not yet born, are all affected by the fact of prostitution. Because it is always there, waiting for mothers who can’t make their pathetic welfare checks stretch far enough, waiting for naïve young girls with brutal home lives, waiting for poverty stricken women from foreign countries, along with women deliberately addicted to drugs by pimps and can’t cut loose. The fact of prostitution is awaiting all women when they look at empty cupboards. Some also hear hungry, crying, ill kept children when they come to a bitter truth…their romantic dreams of being cherished and respected by a particular man (most will have been deserted by their particular men) were lying dreams. The same male culture of the church, the media, the military, the corporations, books, music, movies, videos…all sing love songs touting male cultural devotion to women but then when cupboards are bare and children hungry and dreams smashed a different tune emerges…the same male culture dangles an alternative to women and children’s utter destitution…which is prostitution. But what about free choice, the brothel advocates asks. Shouldn’t women have free choice in the matter if they want to be sex workers?
No. Because it’s not a free choice. It’s a false choice. And women who understand the dynamics of prostitution should stop giving lip service to this concept in order to please other men. Most of the time females are pushed into prostitution and this is problematical on many fronts, including simply physical health. Even when the utmost precautions are taken there is always a certain amount of body fluids exchanged during sex consisting of semen, salvia, perspiration, blood, and even minute traces of urine and feces during intercourse, or other sex acts. Even if sex workers escape disease and the ever present threat of violence from sadistic customers, they run the increased risk of severe gynecological problems as they age.
Women are not physically constructed for daily, repeated, numerous sex acts with strange men and this sexual degrading of women, of any woman, degrades our entire society. My daughter, in her work for Save the Children authored a government report (Sacred Lives) on the age of females entering prostitution. The average age was fourteen. And one sees these children on the kiddie strolls in Vancouver as well as any major city. In my opinion women should be coming together to abolish poverty, not legalize it in its most visible, degraded form, which is prostitution. But how do we abolish poverty? Well, maybe we need a women’s revolution, not a women’s cheering section for meeting men’s increasingly hyped sexual need. Revolution is past due. Betty Krawczyk